Dayme Arocena: Jazz is Really Jelaous

Authenticity? Yes, it’s a good concept to speak about this little girl who becomes great with talent and not with her heels.

I will start by the end of the conversation, just so you can have an idea of ​​what kind of woman is Daymé Arocena who has good reasons to sing jazz shoeless:

"It's just comfort, I'm pretty small, I'm very chubby and people kept telling me to sing on heels, it was a rebellious act on my behalf, because that was not me, I did not feel well, I did not feel comfortable and then against all odds, I decided to be well myself and as the only way I feel well with myself is singing barefooted, it's comfort, just that... "

You see, the right word: authentic, natural, spontaneous, absolutely Cuban like her last album, about which she commented:

"Cubafonia is an album that reveres Cuban music in every sense of the word, that's why we named it like that because we were trying to talk about the musical sound of Cuba, but of contemporary Cuba, of the 21st Century. Cubafonia is an album of 11 unpublished songs, all of them are mine, but inspired by Cuban rhythms, changüí, old rumba, tango congo, chachacha, bolero, guajira, pilon, native rhythms of Cuban music, but from another point of view, a more youthful view, in different languages, the album comprises four languages, there is a changüí song in Spanish, English, French and Yoruba. "

Daymé is one of seven Cubans who have been nominated to the Grammy Awards in the Best Latin Jazz Album category, by the album Oddara, the project Jane Bunnett and Maqueque is young, but it has achieved successes that give it the authority to comment on the involvement of women in the jazz made in Cuba:

"I think women have just started to wake up, they have started to get involved, the important thing is not to get confused, because jazz is a really jealous genre, singing or playing jazz is like making classical music, it's like singing opera, opera singers, for instance, once they’ve mastered opera or classical music they can do everything else, there are people who say: I sing salsa, reggaeton, timba, bolero and jazz, it’s not like that, you sing jazz and from jazz you can sing bolero, salsa, rumba, reggaeton, always with a jazz vision, because what a jazzman has to do every day of this world is to think musically as a jazz player and that is the starting line for all the phenomena of music. All Cuban jazz musicians approach the genres of Cuban music, because it’s our identity, but you have to think as a jazz player first to be able to insert it into the genre, not to insert jazz into rumba, for example, but the other way around the rumba within jazz, because jazz is the most jealous so we want more women to play jazz and do it well ... "

Another topic that her personal experience offers good arguments is the presence of vocals in Cuban jazz:

"Honestly, what is happening with women or with the girls who try to make the genre is interesting, and I talk about girls because we are almost all women who sing jazz, there are not many boys who sing jazz. They are generally attracted to instruments
and not to the singing in this genre. What happens is that there is no information, I tried to find it, but it’s really scarce. Right now what happens is that in Cuba there are many talented people, there are many talented singers, they want to do things, but they lack research and I wish we could have more space for that, because there are talented people in Cuba, there are good singers who could make good sung jazz in Cuba ... Yasek Manzano is one of the people who has supported that idea. He believes in the singers, but he cannot do everything on his own, we need more people like him, we need that the information and space also increase, so that it becomes a real movement, with strong foundations ...

Do you have any personal projects? Of course, besides going to the Grammy Awards ceremony this month ...

"... after I have to sing in this same January, at the Preservation Hall Gala in San Francisco, which is something awesome that they had invited me, because the Preservation Hall has been doing interesting exchanges throughout Cuba for years and then follows for the first time a tour through Australia and New Zealand and starting on April the tours that are like the regular ones, which we always do in the United States and Europe ...

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdes

  • Published in Specials

Cuban Music Students to Perform in the USA

Havana, Dec 28 (Prensa Latina) Cuban music students members of the Jazz Band of the Cuban Amadeo Roldan Conservatoire will play at a community concert next January 5 in the USA, the Ministry of Culture has reported here today.

The 14 young players will be traveling to New Orleans on an invitation by the Horns to Havana Project to play at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center and two days later will perform at the Jazz Education Network.

Two Cuban music professors will be traveling together with the youth band invited by the Jazz Preservation Hall, a prestigious institution in that southern US city.

The Culture Ministry of Cuba highlights this is the first ever exchange of this type, though the Horns to Havana Project has nourished a long relationship with the Cuban Center of Art Schools.

Early this year, the Cuban youth Jazz Band played at a joint session in Havana with the Jazz at Lincoln Center, of the USA.

Cuba has a long standing jazz tradition. This month Havana welcome the 32th International Jazz Plaza Festival, one of the Latin America's most trascendetal events of its type.

Musicians from 10 countries attended the Festival, among them top US jazz players like Terence Blanchard, The Snarky Puppy and Christian McBride.

  • Published in Culture

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  • Published in Culture

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Young Cuban Pianist Triumphs in Switzerland

Havana, Cuba.-Young Cuban pianist Jorge Luis Pacheco won second prize and the acknowledgement of the public at the recently concluded International Jazz Contest of Montreaux, Switzerland.

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